Get Well Soon, KK
As noted by Skyricesq and reported by Derrick Goold and others, Kwang Hyun Kim went on the IL with a kidney ailment.
Kim has been released from Chicago-area hospital, per #stlcards. He will head back to STL on Sunday. Can continue doing baseball activities, remain in team 'bubble' but under watchful eye due to kidney ailment: https://t.co/sV2XtUNx5W #Cardinals @stltoday— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) September 5, 2020
As low as your opinion is of the Cards’ offense, FanGraphs’ is even lower. Game 1 of tonight’s double-header pitted veteran Adam Wainwright against the Cubs’ 25-Byear-old righty Albert Alzolay. One of these two has thrown 2,100 innings over a 15-year career and has been resurgently terrific this season, throwing 34 innings over 5 starts, producing a 2.65 ERA and 3.61 FIP, not to mention coming off a complete-game shut-out against the Indians on August 30 on his 39th birthday.
The other has tossed a grand total of 18.1 IP in The Show between a couple of cups ‘o coffee in 2019 and 2 appearances this season, one being a start.
But hey, that one start was against the Cards August 19, when he gave up just 1 un-earned run on 2 hits with 6 strikeouts. That was enough for the boys and girls in the FanGraphs Lab, who spit out a 56.5% Win Expectancy edge for the Cubs over the Cards’ 43.5%.
But the Cards appropriately wore the Victory Blues!
If Only the Cubs Were Happ-less
If Ross had given Ian Happ the day off, Waino might’ve had a shut-out. Happ was the big burr in Waino’s saddle, getting him for two solo homers. But the Cubs couldn’t break through otherwise against Waino, as Happ’s homers accounted for all of their scoring and 2 of their 6 hits.
Load ‘Em Up
The Cards had one fewer hit than the Cubs, but did enough sequencing of them to cobble together a pair of tallies in the third (when a Cubs mis-play also helped) and fourth innings.
They put at least one runner on through the first 4 innings, loading the bases 4 times overall—and three times in the third! Conversely, the Cubs had the bases juiced just once (but with nobody out), in the second, and they didn’t cash in. Those outcomes ended up being the difference in the Cards’ victory.
After escaping that lone bases loaded situation in the second, Waino retired the next 6 in a row to settle down. Happ nicked Waino again in the 5th with a solo shot, but that was it for the Cubs’ scoring on the day.
Waino almost got his 7-inning complete game, but after a one-out single in the 7th brought Happ up as the tying run, Mike Shildt wisely pulled Waino for Giovanni Gonzales. A 2-out error by Tommy made you hold your breath as Rizzo suddenly stepped in as the winning run, but Gio struck him out in a great battle to end it.
Lead-off hitter Happ got his first dinger before Tommy Edman could finish applying sun block to the tops of his ears in right field. Ian’s 413 ft bomb came on just the second pitch of the late-afternoon start in sunny Chicago.
Note: This is one of only 2 game videos on the MLB Cubs Tweeter page. LOL
And while Waino retired the next two batters, things were loud (and lucky), as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo both made loud contact. Bryant got good wood on a sinker at the top of the zone that totally did not, flying out just to the right of dead center to Lane Thomas (96 mph EV, 355 ft). Anthony Rizzo pulled a low-and-away 81 mph change-up, sizzling it on a line (107 mph EV) into the sun field in right that Edman gloved without having to move much, fortunately. Adam decided missing bats was better and ended the inning by striking out free-swinging Baez on a sinker and 2 curves.
Things continued to look dicey for Adam immediately in the second as well, and you could be forgiven for wondering if his 9-inning, 122-pitch complete game in the previous outing was taking a toll on the 39-year-old.
Adam’s control left him during the first two Cubbie at-bats in the 2nd, as both reached with nary a hit. Kyle Schwarber walked after getting ahead 1-2; then, Adam plunked Contreras in the front shoulder on a mis-placed 87 mph sinker.
Jason Heyward followed by banging a hanging curve past a diving Wong into right for a single. Schwarber was held up at third to load the bases with nobody out for 8th-place hitter Steven “Philip” Souza, Jr.
Adam bowed his neck to strike out Souza on three pitches: sinker, curve, sinker. The Cards got lucky next, as Nico Heorner barreled a low liner to Wong’s backhand, but the gold glover snagged it on the fly, as everyone retreated to their bases.
The lineup then turned over, bringing up lead-off hitter Ian Happ. Adam got ahead 1-2, then got Happ to reach for a 75 mph down-and-away curve, grounding it easily to DeJong, who stepped on second for the run-escaping final out.
The Cards had a nice start to the second inning with a free pass and a Cub error, but the 7, 8, and 9 hitters could not even advance the runners for a goose egg.
In the third, the GOB rewarded old-school baseball, using the sun to help the Cards score. Kolten and Tommy made all the “Go the other way!” armchair hitting coaches happy, as they hit back-to-back line-drive singles to left. After a bummer of a Goldy strikeout, Miller got behind 0-2 but didn’t give in, getting the count full and ultimately walking on pitch 8 that was just barely outside of the upper-right corner of the zone.
That juiced the bases for Pauly D. with one out. DeJong tapped a grounder to third, and Bryant whipped it around the horn, but the relay to Rizzo pulled him slightly off the bag to his left, and the ball tipped off his mitt and fell to the dirt, allowing Pauly to reach on fielder’s choice and Wong to score to tie it 1-1 instead of getting the Cubs out of the inning.
That seemed to rattle young Alzolay, as he walked Yadi on four pitches to load the bases, then likewise walked Mr. Bases Loaded, Matt Carpenter (he of the .491 batting average with ducks on the pond) on four-straight, bringing in Edman to put the Cards on top 2-1.
Dylan Carlson then came in against reliever righty Ryan Tepera. On a 2-2 pitch, the youngster hit in on the screws, but he lined out right to Jayson Heyward to end the inning.
Adam had a clean, easy third, as he retired all batters on a hook (and a bit of luck). Bryant flew out to left, Rizzo grounded out to first, and Contreras sizzled a hanging hook on a liner that seemed destined for left-center. But DeJong used his ups, leapt, and snagged it on full extension to end the inning.
DeJong's Defense is Delightful pic.twitter.com/3E7vWKmRTM— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 5, 2020
In the fourth, the Cards continued to bunch hits, collecting 3 of them with situational hitting to bump up their lead.
Lane Thomas lead off the inning and got a first-pitch 92 mph meatball sinker that stayed up, center-cut, and he slammed it down the left-field line for an easy double. Wong attempted to bunt on his first pitch and fouled it off. We forgave him that, though, as he lined a single to center. But Thomas didn’t score, as he initially froze, thinking the center fielder might’ve had a shot to catch it. (He did not.)
Tommy Edman picked him up, though, as he lined one to right, but it was right at Heyward, who caught it and fired home, too late to nail Thomas to make it 3-1 Cards. The throw went over the cut-off man, so Wong alertly advanced to second.
Now with a man on second and one out for Goldy, the big man walked. Miller followed by striking out on a down-and-in cutter off the plate on a full count. DeJong picked him up, though, as he lined a high 1-2 sinker just over the leaping Baez at short into left-center, scoring Wong to make it 4-1!
Now with first and third, 2 outs, Yadi struck out to end the inning.
Waino then worked around a lead-off Schwarber shift-beating single to hang another zero on the Cubs’ side of the ledger.
After the Cards went down in order in the 5th against new pitcher, rightyJason Adam, the other Adam entered the bottom of the 5th at 59 pitches, striking out 9th-place hitter Nico Hoerner leading off.
And then Happ bit him again. Waino made a 2-2 mistake sinker that stayed up and out over the plate, and Happ made him pay, going oppo to hit his second homer of the day, another solo shot, to halve the lead 4-2. It was a very Wrigley homer.
Adam re-grouped, however, to strike out Bryant and getting Rizzo to ground out to Goldy, with Waino covering to end the inning.
The Cards went quitely in the 6th, then Shildt bumped up the defense, bringing Harrison Bader off the milk carton to play center. Thomas moved to RF; Edman went to third. Baez led off and reached on a bloop hit that floated over Wong and in front of Tommy for a cheap hit (69 mph EV). But then Adam struck out Schwarber, got Contreras to pop out to DeJong in short left-center, and Heyward to fly out to deep-ish center.
Ross brought in the third Cubs reliever in the final inning, righty Dan Winkler, who got back-to-back Ks of Brad Miller and Paul DeJong. Yadi then flew out to Heyward near the foul line in right.
You knew there was no way Waino was coming out, and you were right. Old Man Waino came out to start the 7th, coming in at 88 pitches to face lefty pinch-hitter Victor Caratini, batting for Souza (who Adam had K’d twice). On a full count, Caratini pulled an up-and-in 88 mph “fastball,” lining it right to Goldy (92 mph EV) for a big out 1.
Next batter Nico Hoerner wasted no time, sharply grounding a single to center (104 mph EV) on the first pitch he saw, a cutter out over the plate.
That brought the tying run to the plate in 2-Homer Happ. Mike Shildt appropriately pulled Waino. I’d be curious if Nico had not reached if Shildt woulda left him in to finish.
But as it was, Giovanni Gallegos entered to get the final two outs. on a 1-2 pitch, Happ tipped one that Yadi tried to sell as catching, but it hit the dirt. Yadi himself told the dugout not to bother challenging, as he admitted he tried to deke the ump. LOL. No matter, as Happ flew out harmlessly to Bader in center.
Now with 2 outs and Bryant up, Gio got him to ground one to Edman, who shuffled to his left. But the ball rolled up his glove, he bobbled it, and had to eat it for an E5, brining up the dangerous Rizzo as the winning run with runners on first and second.
On a 1-2 count, Rizzo fouled off 3-straight sliders to stay alive. On the 7th, Gallegos brought the gas, and Rizzo foul-tipped it into Yadi’s mitt, as the catcher hung on to it to end the game!
Cards won, 4-2!
The Bottom Line
- Uncle Charlie’s Line: 6.1 IP, 2 R (2 solo HRs), 6 H, 1 BB, 6 SOs.
Keep on, keeping’ on, yo.
- Of course, this woulda been a 7-inning “complete” game, but the last Cardinals pitcher to pitch back-to-back complete games was....Waino in 2010.
- Waino never has thrown a complete game against the Cubs.
I still don’t believe that.
- Waino’s 32-12 record in Sept is the 4th-best winning percentage for that month in MLB.
- Goldy snapped his brief 2-game streak of not reaching base by walking in the first.
- Matt Carpenter added to his Bases Loaded Batting Average, as he came in at .495 in that situation, which occurred in the 3rd, with him walking.
- DeJong’s single in the 4th gave him 9 2-out RBIs, which leads the Cards.
- Cards were 2-10 with RISP, so left runs on the table; Cubs were 1-7.
- Ian Happ’s two solo homers gave him 9 homers in his last 11 games vs. the Cards.
- Happ’s oppo solo homer in the 5th would not have been a homer in any other park in the league.
Stay classy, Wrigley.
- Was all downhill for the Cubs after the 2nd.